Note: This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill.
In his maiden speech to the Senate four years ago, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) rightly accused Congress of allowing the executive branch to become both maker and enforcer of the nation’s laws. “We need Democrats to speak up when a Democratic president exceeds his or her powers,” he urged. “And I promise you that I plan to speak up when the next president of my party exceeds his or her proper powers.”
Sen. Sasse was prescient. The moment he described has come to pass with President Donald Trump’s hollow declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. The declaration attempts to redirect money Congress appropriated for a specific military purpose to a wall it voted not to fund, turning a simple policy debate into a constitutional confrontation. Because the declaration usurps Congress’s Article I authority, now is the time for all Republicans to stand up—less in opposition to the president than in support of the Constitution, which clearly distinguishes between the executive and legislative branch’s roles.